Tuesday, November 25, 2008

They're not psychic, but they can predict the future

Via Stuff - http://www.stuff.co.nz/4767658a7693.html

Millions of lives could be saved from natural disasters around the world by the biggest revolution in weather forecasting since the introduction of computers.

Weather forecasters from all corners of the globe, including New Zealand, are joining forces to push back the prediction limits of severe weather such as tropical cyclones, thunderstorms and tornadoes, torrential rain, heatwaves and heavy snow.

Extreme weather cannot be forecast accurately beyond two or three days at present but the 10-year Thorpex (The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment) study is effectively thumbing its nose at that.

Its aim is to develop a system that will give extended-range warnings up to two weeks ahead, providing more time for communities and governments to prepare for life-threatening events.

A giant "ensemble" computer model is being developed that will combine all the best points of dozens of models used in everyday weather forecasting and, hopefully, increase the accuracy of predictions.

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